Interview with the designer
Svetlana Milev picture credit Mayra Roubach
Not Your Boring Flower Arrangements
By Tatiana Fiandaca
Even though, for over a century people in many countries celebrate their mothers on the second Sunday of May each year, many echo the opinion that mothers should not be honored on one particular day, but rather everyday. However, that does not mean that this festivity is not a good opportunity to do something nice for our mother, grandmothers, aunts and other motherly figures. But it seems like every Mother’s Day it gets harder to stay away from the hackneyed clichés and find presents that speak of our originality and show our thoughtfulness. This is when Formaneta comes in, a newly open urban-oasis enclave in Key Biscayne specializing in rare plant arrangements that showcase Nature’s beauty in a not-so-obvious way, and far from anything you would order at the convenient flower delivery service.
“Formaneta is a cross between a flower shop and a design studio in the search of the unity of Nature and lifestyle;” said Svetlana, the shop owner. “Bringing more live to the concrete is my main goal”. The name comes from the Latin and Spanish languages: Forma+neta means a clean shape or form. “It has two aspects: The clean form of the materials -organic and as close to Nature as possible- and a clean cut, as my design aesthetics are more contemporary,” she added. Besides plant arrangements, the store also offers organic cosmetics, soaps and candles that are hand made in small badges by local vendors, as well as interior and exterior landscape design services, living wall installations and urban farming solutions.
Svetlana made her long time dream come true when she opened Formaneta in March this year. “Beside plants, I also like working with people; finding the connection between the two through creativity and exploration is very exciting for me,” she commented. Even though, like every designer, she has her personal aesthetics, she also likes to listen to what her costumers want and help them design their own arrangement, living art or space -when it comes to landscaping- “Because every arrangement and space should be as unique as the person enjoying it. This process also helps me as a designer to be current and versatile,” she affirmed.
Originally from Bulgaria, Svetlana´s love for design was inspired by her birth land, which she describes as a beautiful little country where Europe and the Middle East meet, creating a unique architectural and cultural environment. She was born in the country’s old capital, full of ancient ruins and mid-century buildings. Her provenance, combined with her love for plants and flowers -especially the wild ones- made easy her choice of a landscape architecture career later in her life, as she explained.
Having worked in the green industry both in her country and in four different states in America –to where she came 15 years ago- Svetlana voiced that she feels very lucky to be working as a landscape designer in South Florida. “I decided to locate my store in Key Biscayne –a unique place, so close to the action and yet so far- because I have very good taste,” she joked, “And, although I currently don’t live in the island, I have the most beautiful commute in the world. I also like the people; everyone has been so welcoming and helpful that it is quite nice to be a part of this community”.
According to Svetlana, her arrangements are unique because she sees beauty in many different ways and creates interesting pieces using her imagination. “It is funny; when my first delivery of orchids arrived, I called my vendor and I told him that I didn’t want to see those ugly -almost green- little flowers ever again. They did not sell, of course, so I started using them in arrangements to “dress them up”. They turn out to be my favorite variety to work with,” she related. She said she looks for sources in Nature and tries to mimic them. “If you look at a tropical forest, the flowers are rarely color coordinated or shaped as little poppies in a basket.” Svetlana also prefers plants with a nice aroma. “Not may people know that there are some aromatic orchids that can be not as beautiful, but will fill you room with a nice fragrance.”
The arrangements in Formaneta feature cement pots and art pieces crafted by local sculptors that are “plantable” and are turned into living art with orchids and flowers or just with grasses and moss, as they would be if you live them in the garden for long enough. “I try to stay current with finding beautiful and unique plants, pots and art work,” said Svetlana. “With our busy lifestyles, it is also import that the living materials are easy to take care of; new technologies such as the hydroponic systems are very helpful”.
Formaneta offers arrangements with living flowers, such as classic and exotic orchids, bromeliads, ferns, mosses and other varieties, which in combination with more organic and exotic plants create very eclectic pieces that can match any interior. They can be purchased at the store or also delivered to Key Biscayne, Brickell and Downtown Miami, and, like Svetlana concluded, “They are not your boring flower arrangements!”
Formaneta is located at Crandon blvd., 939, Key Biscayne, FL 33149. To contact Svetlana, call 305-987-7880 or E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.